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6i

world as real and important as the world he knew concentric
to himself. They stood in the two-room shack, the objects of
her life around them—the split-bottom chairs, the pine table
with the well-scrubbed top, the dresser with the cracked mirror,
the stove, the wooden bed—and all those objects insinuated
upon him, as with persistent whispers, the new knowledge
about her. Because of the scrubbed pine top of the table, the
small, dry, cracked hands themselves became in their motion-
lessness eloquent and, as it were, beckoned him on to a fuller
penetration and knowledge. And the rickety bed, covered by
the patchwork quilt with colours faded and washed dim, im-
plied to him the secret integrity and purity of her passion—in
any case, it must have been that way once, for instance, when
Trevelyan brought her here for the first time. He recalled the
inflection of pride with which, that day in his office, she had
said her husband was taller than most. She set him off from
other men. With irritation, the irritation of one who does not
want to be disturbed, he suddenly knew how now at night, her
skinny body wrapped in the flannel nightgown, she would stir
in her dog-tired sleep and thrust out an arm emptily across
the lumpy mattress to the place where Trevelyan wasn't now.

" Mrs. Trevelyan," he said, interrupting her as she told him
how the new knife and the other things had been stolen from
the kitchen that day after her husband got home and came out
to the field, " Mrs. Trevelyan, do you have any children?"

"No, sir," she answered, giving him a look of surprise,
adjusting herself to the new question after what she had been
saying. " No, sir, but I had two. They're dead."

"When did they die?"

" Last summer a year ago," she replied. " It was the bloody
flux."

" I'm sorry," Mr. Munn said.

Late that afternoon, when he was back out home taking a
walk with May along the edge .of a field where the tobacco had
been cut, he thought of Bunk Trevelyan's wife again. He
wondered what that world she lived in was really like, what
she herself was really, like. But it was complete and individual